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(Europa) Amongst the films receiving honours at the awards ceremony at this year's Cannes Film Festival were 4 films funded by the EU's Media Programme: "Entre Les Murs" directed by Laurent Cantet (France) won the Palme d'Or, whilst "Gomorra" directed by Matteo Garrone (Italy), swept up the Grand Prize of the festival. "Le silence de Lorna" directed by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (Belgium) won the prize for the best scenario, and the film "Tulpan", directed by Sergey Dvortsevoy (Kazahstan) was awarded the Prix Un Certain Regard. These films were amongst the 14 screened at the Festival that had been developed or distributed with support of more than EUR 900 000 from the European Union's MEDIA programme.
(TED) 2008/S 91-122817. The study should investigate how the language affects the accessing, understanding and exploiting of online services and content: what are the (lost) opportunities that could be seized by offering the content and services in the language of the user? What are the remaining technical, institutional, economic and cultural barriers for cross-lingual access? What are the expectations of the users in terms of language coverage? The study should describe, by solid quantitative indicators, how the multilingual dimension is currently addressed in the online domain, identify problems, trends and provide recommendations for the future. The budget foreseen is a maximum of EUR 200 000. Time-limit for receipt of tenders : 20.6.2008 (16:00).
(Europa) Call for Tenders. Monitoring of the compliance by audiovisual media service providers in the MS with the provisions of Chapter IIa (Article 3e-3g) and Chapter IV of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (Framework contract). The study aims at monitoring the effective application of the rules on audiovisual commercial communications in the Member States. Time-limit for receipt of tenders is 1.9.2008 (16:00). Tender Specifications.
(Europa) Call for Tenders. Study concerning Multi-territory licensing for the online distribution of audiovisual works in the European Union. The new Directive on Audiovisual Media Services will facilitate the cross-border development of on-demand services, notably for the services provided online. This study aims at assessing the economic and cultural consequences of the introduction of a system encouraging forms of multi-territory licensing of audiovisual works. Time-limit for receipt of tenders is 18/08/2008. Tender Specifications.
(BBC) Drawings and computer-generated images of child sex abuse would be made illegal under proposals announced by UK Justice Minister Maria Eagle. Owners of such images would face up to three years in prison under the plans. Under the Obscene Publications Act it is illegal to possess photos of child abuse but it is legal to own drawings and computer-generated images. Ms Eagle said the proposed move would "help close a loophole that we believe paedophiles are using".
(ITProPortal.com) The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) is going forward with plans to appeal to the European Commission over the interoperability of Microsoft Products that are commonly used in the UK Education sector. BECTA has been pursuing two separate complaints, one regarding the way Microsoft licenses its products to schools and the other with regards to compatibility problems that have been plaguing Office 2007, especially when it comes to backward compatibility with Microsoft's own Office 2003 and Microsoft Works.
(RAPID) The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Tele Atlas by TomTom, both of the Netherlands. Tele Atlas is a provider of navigable digital maps and TomTom produces portable navigation devices (PNDs - often known as satellite navigation devices or SatNavs).
(BBC) There should be tighter controls on the management of the BBC's website - in part to prevent it stifling commercial rivals, the BBC Trust has said. After reviewing bbc.co.uk, the trust said it was "an excellent service" but that its content had to be different from that on rival websites. And it criticised the site's management for a £3.5m overspend last year.
(Reuters) Singapore has banned access to two pornographic websites in a "symbolic statement" of the country's societal values, its media regulator said. The two sites, which the regulator declined to identify but local media named as YouPorn and RedTube, work in a similar fashion to popular video-sharing website YouTube. The two Web sites allow users to add and download sex videos.
(Guardian) Ofcom has dismissed claims by a group of MPs that the 9pm watershed is failing to protect young children because they can now access television online. Giving evidence at a culture, media and sport committee hearing, the Ofcom chief executive, Ed Richards, denied the regulator had put itself in an "impossible and absurd position" by not doing more to regulate objectionable content on the web. Richards was responding to claims made by Nigel Evans, the Ribble Valley conservative MP, who argued that Ofcom's powers over broadcasting should be more rigorously applied to internet content. The cross-party group of MPs raised concerns about services such as the BBC iPlayer, which make it possible for anyone to view post-watershed content at any time of the day. The Ofcom partner for content and standards, Stuart Purvis, said a lot of the responsibility rested with parents to make sure their children were not watching inappropriate material.
(Guardian) Belgian newspapers are pushing for up to €49m in damages from Google for publishing and storing their content without paying or asking permission. Last year the search website lost a lawsuit filed by a number of French-language Belgian newspapers and was forced to remove their content which had been posted on Google News and stored in its search engine cache without the copyright owners' permission. Copiepresse, an organisation that represents the French and German language Belgian press, has summoned Google to appear again in September before a Brussels court that will decide on the claim for damages.
(Heise) Der Bundesrat hat das Gesetz zur besseren zivilrechtlichen Durchsetzung geistiger Eigentumsrechte abgesegnet. Rechteinhaber erhalten damit erstmals einen Auskunftsanspruch gegen an Rechtsverstößen unbeteiligte Dritte wie Internetprovider. So soll die Identität möglicher Rechtsverletzer etwa in Tauschbörsen einfacher aufgedeckt werden können. Über die Herausgabe von hinter einer IP-Adresse stehenden Nutzerdaten muss ein Richter entscheiden. Das Gesetz soll nun nach der Unterzeichnung durch den Bundespräsidenten und der Veröffentlichung im Bundesgesetzblatt in Kraft treten. Siehe auch GVU-Vorstand wirft Providern Verweigerung im "Kampf gegen Raubkopierer" vor.
(Intellectual Property Watch) Charlie McCreevy, the EU commissioner for the internal market, has suggested that a forum of those directly affected by private copying levies should be set up with a view to finding "common ground" on the surrounding issues between the collecting societies, which administer levies, and electronics firms, which are required to pay them. Artists and consumers groups should take part in this forum, too, he told a Brussels conference. See Opening speech, Conference on 'private copying levies' - Public Hearing, Centre Borschette, Brussels - 27 May 2008.
(BBC) A one billion dollar lawsuit against YouTube threatens internet freedom, according to its owner Google. Google's claim follows Viacom's move to sue the video sharing service for its inability to keep copyrighted material off its site. Viacom says it has identified 150,000 unauthorised clips on YouTube. In court documents Google's lawyers say the action "threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information" over the web. They also maintained that YouTube had been faithful to the requirements of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act and that they responded properly to claims of infringement.
(BBC) A Missouri woman who allegedly used a fake MySpace profile to bully a girl who later committed suicide has been indicted by a federal Grand Jury. Lori Drew, 49, allegedly posed as a boy on the website to befriend Megan Meier, 13, who hanged herself after he broke off the virtual relationship. Ms Drew denies creating the profile on the social networking website and sending messages to Meier. Lori Drew Indicted in MySpace Suicide Case. The indictment (.pdf) alleges that Drew and her co-conspirators violated MySpace's terms of service, which require registrants to provide truthful registration information and refrain from soliciting personal information from anyone under 18 or using information obtained from MySpace services to harass or harm other people, among other terms. See also Experts Say MySpace Suicide Indictment Sets 'Scary' Legal Precedent (Wired). Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles are resorting to a novel and dangerous interpretation of a decades-old computer crime law - potentially making a felon out of anybody who violates the terms of service of any website.
(Times) by Jonathan Zittrain. Embarrassing images can find their way onto the web all too easily, ruining the lives of the people depicted, but a 'privacy tag' could prevent it.
(BBC) A Canadian privacy group has filed a complaint against the social networking site Facebook accusing it of violating privacy laws. The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) has listed 22 separate breaches of privacy law in its country. Facebook rejects the charge, claiming some of the highest standards around. The basis of the complaint, filed with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, states that Facebook collects sensitive information about its users and shares it without their permission. It goes on to say that the company does not alert users about how that information is being used and does not adequately destroy user data after accounts are closed.
(Cable Forum) The ePrivacy Directive obliges Member States to ensure the confidentiality of communications and related traffic data through national legislation. In particular, they shall prohibit listening, tapping, storage or other kinds of interception or surveillance of communication and the related traffic data by persons other than the users without their consent, which must be freely given, specific and informed indication of the user's wishes. The data concerned in this particular matter i.e. the content of search queries, constitute communication within the meaning of this Directive and the URLs used in the packets constitute traffic data. This data should therefore be protected appropriately.
(Le Monde) Le gouvernement est passé outre l'avis de la Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL) en créant le nouveau passeport biométrique, qui devra contenir, outre une photo numérisée, les empreintes digitales de huit doigts. Selon la CNIL, donít l'avis du 11 décembre 2007 a été publié au Journal officiel du 10 mai, "un sujet d'une telle importance devait passer devant le Parlement et nous n'avons pas obtenu les éléments qui permettent de justifier la création de cette banque de données", a résumé à l'AFP son président, Alex Türk.
(Guardian) Google is hoping to avoid a fight with European privacy campaigners as it prepares to launch its controversial Street View service this side of the Atlantic later in the year, by introducing new technology that blurs the faces of people its cameras inadvertently snap while scanning the streets.
(FT) Social networks and other companies' "aggressive" attempts to target advertising according to users' search behaviour risk damaging the internet industry's reputation, Google's co-founders have warned. Google has faced particular resistance in Europe to its policy of retaining users' search history to improve search results, but comments made by Sergei Brin and Larry Page to journalists at a Google conference in Hertfordshire seemed designed to identify others as the bigger threat to internet users' privacy.
(Heise) The One Laptop per Child project (OLPC) and Microsoft have agreed to start testing XO laptops with an adapted version of Windows XP. According to a press release, the first computers will be delivered to students in developing countries from June. Windows XP will be part of a software package costing $3. The release says that as the task of increasing the level of education in poor countries is too big for any single organisation, Microsoft and OLPC are committed to working with governments and non-governmental organisations.
(RAPID) The European Commission unveils a pilot project to ensure cross-border recognition of national electronic identity (eID) systems and enable easy access to public services in 13 Member States. Throughout the EU, some 30 million national eID cards are used by citizens to access a variety of public services such as claiming social security and unemployment benefits or filing tax returns. The Commission's project will enable EU citizens to prove their identity and use national electronic identity systems (passwords, ID cards, PIN codes and others) throughout the EU, not just in their home country. The plan is to align and link these systems without replacing existing ones.
(RAPID) The Commission has adopted a proposal for a Council Decision on the establishment of the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS). The proposal aims at giving concrete tools to all 27 Member States for the exchange of easy-to-use information between Member States with different criminal legal systems, different languages, as well as different alphabets. ECRIS is a system based on decentralised information technology architecture, where criminal records data will be stored solely in databases operated by Member States. The system aims at making sure that the recipient receives information in a form which is immediately understandable.
(RAPID) The Commission has adopted a Communication to the European Parliament, Council and the EESC presenting ideas for the use of Information Society tools in the field of justice. The Communication deals with current and future initiatives which will help promote the European Justice Area. The objectives of e-Justice, which encompass both criminal and civil justice, are: The creation of a European portal designed to facilitate access to justice by citizens and businesses across Europe, and the reinforcement of judicial co-operation, on the basis of existing legal instruments. See also Questions and answers on the adoption of the e-Justice Communication.
(01net) La gendarmerie nationale met en ligne un site consacré à une affaire criminelle, afin de recueillir de nouveaux témoignages ou indices. Une première en France alors que cette pratique a déjà cours à l'étranger, en Allemagne par exemple. L'opération a reçu l'aval du juge d'instruction chargé de l'enquête, et le ministère de la Justice finance l'opération.
(BBC) With Barack Obama moving close to victory in the Democratic presidential primary campaign, the internet has proved one of the key tools to his success. And it may well give the Democrats a big advantage during the Presidential race itself. The internet favours the outsider, and gives them the ability to quickly mobilise supporters and money online. The more nimble use of the internet by the Obama campaign in its early stages helped him overcome the huge initial lead of Hillary Clinton in the presidential nominating race.
(BBC) Authorities in Bavaria, southern Germany, have taken a seven-month-old boy into care after his parents offered him for sale on eBay "as a joke". The unnamed child was advertised as a "nearly-new baby" with a starting price of one euro.
(RAPID) Discours de Viviane Reding, Membre de la Commission européenne responsable pour la Société de l'Information et Médias, Assises françaises du numérique "les TIC, levier de croissance et de compétitivité", Paris, le 29 mai 2008.
(RAPID) Discours de Viviane Reding, Membre de la Commission européenne responsible pour la société de l'information et les médias, Conférence 'Convergence 2008', Paris, le 30 mai 2008.
(Europa) Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media. i2010 Conference - Information Society at a Crossroads, Brdo, 13 May 2008.
(ITU) The ITU has released WSIS Stocktaking 2008 Report. This Report is an update on the activities undertaken by governments, business, civil society and other organizations aimed at the achievement of the objectives and targets of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) from end 2005 until mid 2008. The Report was prepared through a consultative process with all stakeholders by placing the draft report for comments on the WSIS stocktaking website. The system is publicly accessible and presents information on WSIS-related initiatives and projects. It is possible to search for information within the database by WSIS action line, project, keyword, geographical location and other specifications. Governments submitted 3812 activities, representing 54 per cent of the total number of submissions. International organizations were second, with 29 per cent, followed by businesses, civil society entities and others. Some 44 per cent of activities submitted had been carried out at the national level, while 30 per cent were of an international nature.
(RAPID) Increasing demand for Internet based services means that there would not be enough addresses to support this expected growth, if no action is taken. Encouraging internet users and providers to adopt the latest Internet Protocol (IP version 6 or IPv6) will provide a massive increase in address space, much in the same way as telephone numbers were lengthened in the 20th century. The European Commission has set Europe a target of getting 25% of EU industry, public authorities and households to use IPv6 by 2010.
(Digital Natives project) Does it make sense to talk about a distinctive global culture of young people - Digital Natives - who have only known life in a digital age? An academic research team - joining people from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and the Research Center for Information Law at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland - is working on a research project on Digital Natives. The focus of this research is on exploring the impacts of this generational demarcation between those born with these technologies and those who were not. See also Digital Natives session at Berkman@10. List of 9 myths floating through the ether about how young people use new technologies.
(BBC) MySpace has won a $234m legal judgement over junk messages sent to members of the social networking site. Victory in the case was awarded to MySpace after Sanford Wallace and Walter Rines, the men behind the junk mail, failed to show up in court. The judgement is thought to be the largest ever given against senders of unsolicited commercial e-mail. However, anti-spam experts said MySpace had little chance of getting the cash it sought.
(OUT-LAW News) Two British newspaper publishers have been fined in French courts because they violated French privacy laws. The publishers were liable because the articles were viewed in France on the internet. Olivier Martinez, an ex-boyfriend of Kylie Minogue, sued Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) and Associated Newspapers for breach of France's strict privacy laws after the newspapers published stories suggesting Martinez and Minogue had recommenced their relationship. MGN was sued because of an article at sundaymirror.co.uk, while Associated was sued over articles at dailymail.co.uk and thisislondon.co.uk. For each title the publishers were ordered to pay €4,500.
(Informa Telecoms & Media) European operators have raised the price of roaming calls into the European Union as much as 163% since the introduction of the Eurotariff to compensate for the loss of roaming revenues within Europe. For example, the average price of a call home to Italy made by a subscriber roaming in Russia has risen 25% since the Eurotariff came into play. A German mobile user outside the EU has seen a massive 163.7% price increase since 2006 for a call home from Africa.
(FT) Cheaper overseas text messages, lower surcharges on mobile phone calls, a shake-up of the EU's radio waves - this striking "to-do" list marks the latest quest by Viviane Reding, the EU telecoms commissioner. She has repeatedly clashed with the industry over her regulatory efforts and while much of the Brussels machine has slowed in the final year-and-a-half of the European Commission's mandate, Mrs Reding seems determined to make the most of her remaining term.
(Press Release) The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, has announced a targeted plan to create a safer online environment for Australian children. The Government's cyber-safety funding will provide $49 million to law enforcement, ensuring that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Child Protection Operations Team can expand its capacity to detect and investigate online child abuse, with 91 additional AFP members dedicated to online child protection by 2011. Central to the Government's plan to make the internet a safer place for children is the introduction of Internet Service Provider (ISP) level filtering of material such as child pornography. The ISP filtering policy is being developed through an informed and considered approach, including a laboratory trial, extensive industry consultation, and close examination of overseas models to assess their suitability for Australia. In addition, the Government is developing a range of measures to help empower children to be responsible online participants. It will provide parents, teachers, trainee teachers, librarians and children with up-to-date, comprehensive and age-appropriate online cyber-safety resources and assistance.
(Le Parisien) MSN, la messagerie instantanée utilisée par 70 % des jeunes internautes français, lance officiellement aujourd'hui un nouveau logiciel gratuit de contrôle parental. Ce dernier était très attendu par les associations de lutte pour la protection des mineurs sur Internet. Il va enfin permettre aux parents de contrôler - à distance et en direct -tout nouvel « ami » qui voudrait entrer en contact avec leur enfant.
(Le Figaro) La secrétaire d'État à la Famille s'apprête à prendre une série de mesures pour mieux protéger les enfants de la cybercriminalité. "Je rencontre aujourd'hui les fournisseurs d'accès à Internet pour qu'ils interdisent l'accès à tous les sites pédopornographiques et illégaux recensés sur une liste noire établie par le ministère de l'Intérieur. Cette pratique existe déjà dans d'autres pays comme la Grande-Bretagne, la Suède, la Norvège". voir aussi FR - Protection des enfants sur internet : trois pistes d'actions proposées aux professionnels (Ministère du travail, des relations sociales et de la solidarité). Nadine MORANO, Secrétaire d'Etat chargée de la Famille, propose trois actions aux professionnels de l'Internet pour protéger les familles et les enfants: interdire l'accès aux sites illégaux pédopornographiques; accroître les performances des logiciels de contrôle parental des FAI; faire en sorte que les parents soient davantage informés des performances des logiciels de filtrage des FAI. voir aussi Une visite à Londres sur la thème de la protection des enfants sur internet.
(FT) Club Penguin, the virtual online world for six- to 14-year-olds is rapidly growing into a global phenomenon. Club Penguin has 20m users and analysts estimate up to 10 per cent of them have persuaded parents to pay about £4 a month for souped-up access to the site. Safety features were a big selling point from the outset. Club Penguin employs more than 100 moderators who monitor the site for unsafe behaviour. They are trained to spot bullying, or attempts to share contact details. Pictures cannot be posted on the site. Instead, children are represented by a colourful penguin. Filtering software prevents phone numbers being published.
(BBC) The parents of Madeleine McCann have backed a scheme to use social networking websites Facebook and Bebo to help trace missing children. The charity Missing People has launched the initiative to coincide with International Missing Children's Day.
(BBC) German neo-Nazis have used a personalised stamp service to send letters bearing the image of Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess. An order of 20 55-cent stamps was printed by the service. Deutsche Post's personalised stamp service was launched in February and allows customers to upload their own photos over the internet to create an individual stamp design, ordering any amount from 20 to 10,000. The service has proved popular with people celebrating weddings, birthdays or anniversaries. Deutsche Post does have control mechanisms in place to ensure that criminal or pornographic images are not printed.
(New York Times) The Internet is seeing a stark rise in the number of hate and terror sites and Web postings, according to a Congressional briefing last week entitled "Hate in the Information Age." At the briefing, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, an associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group based in Los Angeles, presented the organization's annual study of online terror and hate. He said the group had identified some 8,000 problematic sites in the last 12 months, a 30 percent spike over last year. Contributing to this precipitous rise was the proliferation of Web 2.0 services, which have made it easy to post videos to sites like YouTube and mint hate groups on services like Facebook and MySpace.
(Yomiuri Shimbun) The ruling parties in Japan will introduce legislation for Internet service providers to block access to child pornography sites with major providers in favor of the move. Under the blocking system, Internet service providers would use special software to block access to Web sites included on a police list of child porn sites, including sites using overseas servers. Britain, Italy, Sweden and other countries have already implemented such a system, and it is claimed the approach has been effective in limiting child porn on the Web.
(BBC) Age ratings for downloaded video content and video games are to be introduced in the UK. Overseen by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the scheme will see certificates appear on websites, via set-top boxes and portable players. Disney, Warners and Fox have signed up to the scheme with other "key industry figures... poised to join the scheme". see also Censors go online to clean up murky world of digital videos (Times).
(Net Family news) ConnectSafely.org was invited to join the Internet Safety Task Force that is part of MySpace's settlement with 49 state attorneys general. One of the Task Force's main goals is to see if age verification technology can be used to protect minors. The Task Force's first meeting - was attended by Internet companies including MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, AOL, Google, and Yahoo, age- and identity-verification companies, and online-safety organizations. Larry Magid wonders if such technology would be helpful even if it could be employed. See his commentary at CBSNEWS.com.
(Georgetown Journal of International Affairs) by Gadi Evron. What would happen if tomorrow the Internet ceased to function? To most critics, and particularly state officials and policy makers, the possibility that the Internet could one day suddenly disappear is no more than a mere speculation, a highly improbable concept. On May 2007, the events that took place in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, proved everyone wrong. On that day, Estonia fell victim to the first-ever, real Internet war. This article delves into the political context that shaped the incident and analyzes some of the key lessons and policy implications that emerged as a consequence.
(BBC) Teachers in Scotland have been asked to adhere to a new code of conduct. Drawn up by regulatory body the General Teaching Council of Scotland, it warns teachers to be careful when online and approached by pupils. School teachers using their home computers have been warned about the dangers of putting too much personal information on the internet.
(Net Family News) Google has announced Friend Connect, allowing people to add social-networking features to any existing blog or Web site for free. So now it's really true that there could be as many social-networking sites in the world as there are Internet users. Because we've arrived at where creating a blog, a Web page, or a social-networking site is as cut-'n'-paste a proposition as using Word. But let's think about the child-safety implications too. Have the US's state attorneys general thought about age verification for every young Web site owner or blogger and somehow making them as well as MySpace and Facebook impose it on every visitor to their sites? The other issue hardly anybody in the US talks about is how international the social Web is. Do US attorneys general think any law or technology could require overseas sites to verify the ages of US-based users? See also Google to Connect Friends Across the Web (Washington Post) and MySpace, Facebook, et al: Data portability.
(IDG) Europe's top Internet security agency, ENISA, called for new legislation to police social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. "Social networking sites are very useful social tools but we must make recommendations for how to better protect people from the risks these sites create," said Andreas Pirotti, executive director of ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency). He suggested that EU legislation be expanded "to cover the taking of photos of people and posting them on the internet," he said, adding that currently there is no need to get a person's consent in order to post a photo of them. He also said there is a "crucial need" to raise awareness about how social networking sites work. Few people realize that they can be offered up as friends to people they don't know. Also, many people don't realize that it's almost impossible to erase material once it has appeared on the internet, Pirotti said.
(PC World) It's great to keep in touch with your friends and colleagues, but does the price have to be spam, zombie bites, and friend invitations from people you've never heard of?
(BBC) Credit companies are using the Facebook social networking site to target young people, a debt charity has warned. Credit Action says adverts promising cheap loans for people with poor credit ratings are appearing on the site and many break advertising regulations. In particular, they are promoting two new products - payday loans secured against a salary or logbook loans secured against a car.
(OUT-LAW News) A social networking site has deleted most of its users over the age of 36 because it claims older users pose a danger of sex offending. It claims to be forced into the action by the Government, but the part of a law it cites is not yet in force. Faceparty has deleted what it describes as "a huge number of accounts" from its social networking site in recent weeks. It lists 'over 36 years old' as one of its reasons for deletion. "We understand that only a minority of older users are sex offenders, but you must understand that we cannot tell which," it says in its explanation of the deletion of accounts.
(CNET News) Microsoft says it plans to add new formats to Office 2007, including the Open Document Format (ODF), Portable Document Format (PDF), and XML Paper Specification (XPS). The new formats will be added to Office as part of Service Pack 2 for Office 2007, due in the first half of next year. ODF, a rival document format to Office's native format, has become popular with governments and schools.
(ZDNet France) L'Asic et Renaissance Numérique critiquent vertement le scénario de la Commission Copé qui remet sur la table l'hypothèse d'une taxation des revenus publicitaires des portails internet pour financer l'audiovisuel public. Elles sont d'autant plus virulentes que cette idée est soutenue par les opérateurs télécoms.
(Europa) Speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, Annual Conference Interactive Software Federation of Europe, Brussels, 7 May 2008.
(Il Tirreno) Violenze e rapine per essere capomafia: a Livorno GTA IV (Grand Theft Auto) finisce sott'inchiesta. Il reato ipotizzato è istigazione a delinquere. Così, GTA, ovvero Gran Theft Auto IV, il videogioco più famoso e venduto (settanta milioni di copie) finisce sotto inchiesta. La Procura di Livorno ne ha fatte acquisire due copie e ora le farà analizzare a degli esperti.
(Washington Post) Microsoft is shutting down its book digitization initiative, which launched in 2006. The company has digitized 750,000 books and indexed 80 million journal articles to date. Google's competing product, Book Search, is adding 3,000 books per day to their index, although they have not disclosed the total number of books scanned. The company said "Based on our experience, we foresee that the best way for a search engine to make book content available will be by crawling content repositories created by book publishers and libraries."
(Washington Post) Disney is launching a virtual play environment that kids can access through Nintendo DS devices and their computers. The software for the service, called DGamer, comes free on copies of a video game tied to the movie, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian." Some industry watchers say DGamer is the latest entry in a category that is about to get crowded. As one venture capitalist put it, kid-oriented online worlds are "popping up like mushrooms everywhere."
(Economist) By any measure - revenues, employees, customers - it is the largest industrial reorganisation ever. And, reflecting how business is done in China, it was announced in the most modest way, with a posting on a government website on May 24th. The country's telecoms industry, with nearly 600m mobile subscribers, 360m fixed-line customers and $244 billion in revenue, will be reconfigured. Six companies will be collapsed into three, each spanning mobile, fixed and broadband services.
(Economist) In the next few months, the number of mobile phones in use will exceed 3.3 billion, or half the world's population. No technology has ever spread faster around the globe: the mobile phone took less than two decades to reach this degree of penetration. But the ever-restless wireless industry has already set its sights on getting the other half connected. Two recent reports analyse how to add the "next billion" to the subscriber list.
(Register) KPN will become the first operator in Europe to launch a nationwide mobile TV service when it begins broadcasting 10 channels across DVB-H next month. The Dutch operator's service kicks off from June 5 and it will offer TV-hungry customers two handsets, the LG KB620 and the Samsung P960, which can receive the broadcasts.
(theage.com.au) Cyber bullying is affecting more than one in five young Australians, said the annual Youth Poll survey. The internet plays a critical role in the lives of 15- to 20-year-olds, with 64 per cent having a social network site such as MySpace or Facebook. But 22 per cent had been harassed or bullied online.
(CNET) Nielsen's numbers, which track monthly unique visitors to social-networking sites, indicate that MySpace's growth from April 2007 to April 2008 was just 3 percent, and that Club Penguin's traffic shrank 7 percent. Business social network LinkedIn, is still growing rapidly, pulling in 361 percent more unique users than it did a year ago. Facebook is growing more slowly, with 56 percent more visitors.
(Economist) The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) regularly releases a ranking of broadband penetration, speeds and prices across its 30 countries. More recently, it has begun to look at coverage and competition too. The OECD released its latest report. The number of broadband subscribers in the world's 30 biggest countries grew by 18% to reach 235m, or one-fifth of those countries' total population. Between 2005 and 2006, prices fell by an average of 19% for DSL connections and 16% for cable lines. At the end of 2004 the average speed was 2 megabits(MB) per second; in 2007 it increased to almost 9MB. But the excellent report, written by Taylor Reynolds and Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, goes beyond the numbers and examines why broadband is actually useful. And here the authors face a problem: there simply is not good data to show that broadband matters. there is little evidence to support the notion that faster is inherently better. The rankings miss something crucial about how broadband is used, regardless of where a country stands.
(Guardian) Nearly half of all internet users would support a voluntary code of conduct for bloggers and online commentators, according to research. A survey by legal firm DLA Piper said 46% of web users think bloggers should sign up to a code that reflected the laws on defamation, intellectual property and incitement, with 15% ambivalent and 4% strongly opposed.
(BBC) Virtual worlds can be valuable places where children rehearse what they will do in real life, reveals research. They are also a "powerful and engaging" alternative to more passive pursuits such as watching TV, said the BBC-sponsored study. The research was done with children using the BBC's Adventure Rock virtual world, aimed at those aged 6-12. The researcher said the BBC should have involved children early on to guide development and provide feedback.
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